Julie Welch is leaving FTSE 250 logistics company Wincanton to join multinational distribution and outsourcing firm Bunzl as group HR director. Welch is taking over from Celia Baxter, who has been group HRD at Bunzl since 2003.
Baxter is departing to take on a portfolio career of NED roles – she already has two non-executive directorships and plans to take on one more.
Welch told HR magazine the opportunity to join Bunzl, which is a member of the FTSE 100, was too good to turn down. “When I told my CEO at Wincanton he said I was graduating to the FTSE 100. I will be very proud to do so.”
Welch said she was most proud of her role in returning Wincanton to a profitable position during her HRD tenure. The company has just announced it will pay a dividend to its shareholders for the first time in five years. “There were some hard times, such as the closing of the final salary pension scheme, but I’m proud to be leaving a company that is now paying a dividend,” she said. “We also reshaped and relaunched the mission, vision and values, and involved colleagues and customers in that.”
Welch explained that she enjoyed working in the logistics sector because “we brought people things that they use every day, from tea and coffee to the sofa that they sit on”. “It’s not sexy, but it touches everyone’s lives,” she added.
The fact Bunzl is multinational and highly acquisitive further attracted Welch to the role. “Getting that global experience is really important and exciting,” she said. “Bunzl made more than 20 acquisitions last year so its growth is really fast-paced.”
Welch will be joining Bunzl shortly after Frank van Zanten takes on the CEO role. “It’s perfect timing to come in a couple of months after his appointment,” she told HR magazine, adding that she is particularly looking forward to working on talent, succession planning and planning a full leadership conference.
Welch begins her new role on 19 September. Baxter is leaving in July.